Mobile internet not suspended just as it wasn’t in Tral on Thursday
Anantnag: Two militants, one local and the other a Pakistani, according to police sources, were killed by government forces in Sirhama area of Bijbehara in Anantnag district on Friday. Government forces blasted to rubble the house in which the militants were holed up, and later another explosion took place amid the rubble that injured at least 4 youths among the many who had gathered at the encounter site soon after the government forces left.
Police sources told Kashmir Reader that the slain militants included a youth from Pulwama district and a Pakistani national, “both affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Toiba.”
“While the proper identification process is yet to be carried out, one of the slain militants is believed to be Adil Bhat of Kakapora, Pulwama, and another a Pakistani national,” the police source said.
Along with the bodies of the two militants an AK-47 and an INSAS rifle was retrieved from the site of the gunfight, the police source said, adding, “Bodies of the militants will be sent to an undisclosed location for burial later in the day.”
The operation was launched at about 6:00 PM Thursday evening near the main bus stand in Sirhama area, following inputs regarding presence of militants in the area.
“While the cordon was being launched, the militants opened fire, which was retaliated to. However for the next two to three hours they did not fire and neither did we,” a senior police officer from the area told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the militants opened fire again at about 8:30 PM and then the gunfight continued for pretty much the whole night. “The militants were finally eliminated this morning. Their bodies have been retrieved along with arms and ammunition. Identities and affiliations are being ascertained,” the officer said.
Local people told Kashmir Reader that there was intense firing throughout the night and in the morning a powerful blast rocked the whole area. “We have never heard such an explosion in our entire lives,” a local resident said.
The explosion, it was later known, was carried out by government forces to blow apart the house the militants were holed up in. “The house has been razed to ground and several other houses in the vicinity have also suffered severe to minor damage,” locals said.
Soon after the forces withdrew from the site, hundreds of people gathered there. “Despite the fact that we had warned people against venturing towards the site of the gunfight,” the police officer said.
While the people were assembled all around and over the rubble of the house, an unexploded device went off, leaving four youths injured and creating panic as people ran for cover.
“All of the injured were shifted to SDH (Sub-District Hospital) Bijbehara and later two of them were shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment. All of them are stable, though,” the police officer said.
The injured youths have been identified by local sources as Irfan Ahmad, Muhammad Yaseen Rather, Shahid Yousuf and Mudassir Ahmad Magray.
Despite the explosion, people again gathered at the site of the gunfight and some of them found a severed toe, believed to be that of a slain militant. Pictures of the severed toe were widely circulated on social media and local sources said that the toe was later buried by the people.
Mobile internet (2G) services remained working through the course of the gunfight as was the case during the gunfight in Tral on Thursday. No clashes or protests were reported from around the site of the gunfight either.